Illinois hits highest single day fatality total
By Angela Simmons, Weekly Editor
Illinois hit the second highest single day coronavirus disease (COVID-19) case total and the highest single day fatality total with 2,219 confirmed cases and 144 deaths. Even as the numbers appear grave, testing levels remain high and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike says there’s hope.
Of the 144 deaths in the past 24 hours, Dr. Ezike said 80 percent occurred in northern Illinois, 14 percent occurred in southern Illinois, and six percent were in central Illinois. Racially, the victims break down to 44 percent white, 28 percent black, 13 percent Hispanic, and eight percent Asian. No breakdown was given as far as comorbidities.
Ezike has recently come under fire for her statement during a recent press conference for her statement explaining COVID deaths. “I just want to be clear in terms of the definition of people dying of COVID. So, the case definition is very simplistic. It means at the time of death, it was a COVID positive diagnosis. So if you were on hospice and had only been given a few weeks to live and were then found to have COVID, that would be counted as a COVID death. It means that, technically, if you died of a clear alternate cause but had COVID at the same time, it’s still listed as a COVID death. Everyone who’s listed as a COVID death, it doesn’t mean it was the cause of their death, but that they had COVID at the time of their death,” she said.
The state so far has tested 242,189 tests in total, with 14,561 tests run in the past 24 hours. Statewide, there are 4,738 patients are hospitalized, 1,245 of those patients are in intensive care units, and 778 COVID patients are on ventilators.
Dr. Ezike presented her weekly recovery statistics, saying “49 percent of people report no symptoms and feeling recovered two weeks after their positive test, two to four weeks after a positive test, 61 percent report feeling recovered, and more than four weeks from a positive test, 74 percent report being recovered,” she said.
She continued “I hope that’s seen as encouraging news- that people do recover. We mourn the loss of all the lives and we’re sorry for all those who have had to endure a battle in the hospital, but the majority of individuals do recover.”
In St. Clair County, per IDPH, there are now 434 cases and 25 deaths. Per population in the county, only one percent of residents have been tested.
The Governor’s Order
During the daily state press briefing in Chicago, Governor JB Pritzker said that the stay at home executive order will stand, spoke several times about the lawsuit filed and won by Xenia Illinois State Representative Darren Bailey that allows Bailey alone to not be affected by the governor’s stay at home order.
Pritzker said he does not “believe that the courts will allow this to stand, and I do believe the courts will overturn it,” saying that the lawsuit “only applies to one person, because it’s only every been about one person.” He criticized Bailey, saying it’s “reckless” for a state representative “who should know better to bring a lawsuit like that he knows might have a terrible effect on the health and safety of people across the state.”
When presented with part of the judge’s statement from the ruling that says “by limiting people in what they can go outside and do, that is in effect a quarantine,” Pritzker said “There is no quarantine authority that’s being exercised here. There’s a stay at home order, they’re executive orders that are in place to effectuate the protection of all of our citizens. It’s called a ‘stay at home order,’ there is no mandate that people have to stay quarantined in their home. That’s not what the stay at home order says, that’s the name of the order, but the order in fact says that it’s designed to protect families and individuals across the state following guidelines from our federal Homeland Security Department. We’ve essentially authorized essential businesses to keep operating, but we’ve asked nonessential businesses to close, we’ve asked people to wear masks, we’ve asked people to make sure and protect each other across the state by keeping social distancing norms, and that’s all of what those orders are about.”
He continued “Again, it’s the authority of the Emergency Management Act, of the Public Health Act, and it is the history of the state of Illinois that we have sometimes successive declarations of disaster in the state. A good example is floods that have occurred in the past which, remember, emergencies don’t have a time bound to them…we haven’t experienced a pandemic in Illinois for over 100 years.”
“We’re trying to end our executive orders as soon as possible, but with the thought in mind that we need to keep people safe to be able to do that,” he added.
Gov. Pritzker rebuffed the idea of a partisan divide, saying “I think there was a poll yesterday that the vast majority of the people in the state, whether they’re democrats or republicans, support the stay at home order. I don’t think there’s a partisan divide. I do think there’s a few people who are trying to take advantage of the moment in the middle of the pandemic that is killing people- they’re politicizing it.”
Pritzker said that the state has a Public Health Act and Emergency Management Act cover the authority of the governor to institute such orders, and he encouraged people to read the statute and the precedence set in previous disasters.